Positive feedback from Highland tenants

Positive feedback from Highland Council tenants was highlighted at the Housing and Property Committee held yesterday and the improvement in some responses means the Council is now above the national average in many indicators. 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Council has had to change the way it communicates with tenants and customers with a focus on digital communication.

The Council developed the Highland Tenant Network, a private online platform, for tenants and customers to interact with officers and with each other and access up-to-date information.

Over the past twelve months the Council has continued to carry out phone and online tenant surveys, hold online tenant meetings and Forums, and deliver informational webcasts on a variety of topical subjects, eg: Fire Safety, Mental Wellbeing, Energy Efficiency and Preventing Scams.

The Tenant Participation Team have also successfully trialled a new type of survey. The Rate your Place survey is based on the Place Standard and is designed to gather a holistic view of how people feel about living in a specific place.

This presents a visual interpretation of the issues most affecting our communities and has been very effective in reaching tenants and residents who are happy to work with us to set up residents’ groups and improve their estates.

The team’s interested tenant survey, completed in June this year, also asked tenants who had not participated online if they would like the Council to do so. Nearly 62% of those who responded said they would.

The Council recognises that this is an opportunity that tenants would like, and the team is currently exploring options and working with external partners, to enable the local authority to provide digital training and support alongside a digital device lending library.

Members at the meeting noted the continuous improvement in tenant participation in Highland and the recognition of this by the Scottish Housing Regulator and also noted that housing are continuing to look at new ways to engage with its tenants and provide online training and support.

Chair of the Highland Council’s Housing and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Thompson, said: “We asked tenants if we could provide them with support or training and loan them a suitable device, such as a laptop or tablet, with internet access would they like to join online meetings.

“The response has been very positive and we welcome the work which is already ongoing to gauge how this can be delivered and enhance tenant engagement.”

The Tenant Participation Team and frontline housing officers have been actively encouraging tenants to be involved in decisions that will affect them, supporting tenants and the Council to work together to improve services and ensure tenants have all the information they need to enable their involvement.

The recently completed 2021 Tenant Satisfaction Survey, carried out every three years, indicated higher rates of satisfaction for five of the six performance indicators, and found to be significantly improved compared to previous surveys.

  • 85.91% of tenants were very or fairly satisfied with the overall service provided by Highland Council’s Housing Service (78.1% in 2018 survey)
  • 92.51% of tenants said that the Highland Council’s Housing Service was very good or fairly good at keeping tenants informed about services and decisions (69% in 2018 survey)
  • 93.81% if tenants said they were very or fairly satisfied with the opportunities to participate in Highland Council’s Housing Service’s decision-making process (55.7% in 2018 survey)
  • 77.22% of tenants were very or fairly satisfied with the quality of their home (75.2% in the 2018 survey)
  • 88.01% of tenants were very or fairly satisfied with Highland Council’s Housing Service’s contribution to the management of the neighbourhood they lived in (68% in 2018 survey)
  • 88.92% of tenants said that they thought their rent was very good or fairly good value for money (87.69% in 2018 survey).
1 Oct 2021